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Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone (Jack plug ¼” (6.3 mm) stereo)
- Connectivity Technology: Wired/Wireless.Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Open, circumaural dynamic stereo headphones for maximum wearing comfort
- Outstanding soundstage with a warm and balanced audio reproduction. Frequency response (Headphones)15 – 40.000 Hz (-3dB), 8 – 44.000 Hz (-10dB)
- Specially-tuned, highly efficient drivers capable of delivering high sound pressure levels and a flat frequency response
- Highly optimized ventilated magnet system minimizes air turbulence and harmonic, intermodulation distortion
- Open-back ear cups facilitate transparent sound while showcasing cutting-edge industrial design
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From the manufacturer
Bring excitement to the next stage of intensity with the new HD 700. Incorporating Sennheiser’s signature sound expertise, these open, circumaural dynamic stereo headphones promises outstanding soundstage with a warm and balanced audio reproduction. Paired with specially-tuned, highly efficient drivers capable of delivering high sound pressure levels, immense audio enjoyment is available at your fingertips.
Equaling the audio performance are the finest parts expressly selected for production – highly aesthetic dual-material yoke, angled acoustic baffle, detachable symmetrical silver-plated oxygen-free four-wire copper cable – for an optimal sound experience. In addition, exceedingly optimized ventilated magnet system minimizes air turbulence and harmonic, intermodulation distortion while a very low THD is achieved by the superior, extremely stable internal damping element.
The open-back ear cup design is not only revolutionary but also, to facilitate transparent sound. Extraordinary wearing comfort is ensured, with their ultra comfortable and luxurious earpads, together with its silicone-treated headband resulting in minimal headband resonance. All in all, the HD 700 invites the user to bask in true musical enjoyment.
What's in the box?
- 1 HD 700
- Instruction manual
-Open, circumaural dynamic stereo headphones.
- Outstanding soundstage with a warm and balanced audio reproduction.
- Specially-tuned, highly efficient drivers capable of delivering high sound pressure levels.
- Highly optimised ventilated magnet system minimises air turbulence and harmonic, intermodulation distortion.
- Open-back ear cups facilitate transparent sound while showcasing cutting-edge industrial design and natural sound experience.
- Ultra comfortable and luxurious velour earpads, silicone-treated headband for minimal headband resonance.
- Innovative and highly aesthetic dual-material yoke for better stability and eliminates negative influences to sound quality.
- Very low THD achieved by top-notch and extremely stable internal damping element.
- Symmetrical and detachable silver-plated oxygen-free four-wire copper cable for better conductivity at higher frequencies.
- Designed in Germany, assembled in Ireland.
- 2 year warranty.
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|Item Dimensions||5 x 8 x 10 in||10 x 12.4 x 4.33 in||0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 in||10.75 x 13.82 x 5.71 in||7 x 8 x 4.5 in||8.5 x 6 x 11.5 in|
|Item Weight||0.9 lb||0.57 lb||0.57 lb||0.73 lb||0.82 lb||0.79 lb|
If the HD 700 headphones were a music group, it would be equally gifted in every style. Whether classic, jazz or rock, it would have sound mastery of each genre. Regardless of what song it’s currently playing, its timbre is always warm and emotional. With its exceptional and unique range, reproduction of the lowest and highest tones that the human ear cannot consciously perceive is now achievable. This is a true maestro and an unforgettable listening experience suited for every musical taste.
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for years I read the horror stories about the hd700 and it's "ear bleeding" sibilance. I've seen people say its like ice picks to their ear drums. others say it's like a devil's dentist drill, shredding their ear drums (no joke!). and lets not even bring up the frequency response graphs.....
I always thought the reviews seemed odd, could it really be that bad? at that time the 700 was well over $750, which was way out of my budget. but the recent prices (got mine for $430) brought it down to my level. why not, I figured. I could always return it if it was as bad as "they" say.
well, guess what? it's not bad. nope, not at all. actually it's good. how good? quite good! hd800 good? no, but then again it wasn't supposed to be that good. if it was, why even have the 800? $1000 good? no, I wont go that far. $500 good? oh yeah! now we're talking.
I wont go into super detail on the sound signature, as it's been done to death. instead I want to focus on what I feel are misconceptions, and parroting. and by parroting, I mean the epidemic online of people just regurgitating things they've read/heard, without having any first hand experience. just go on headfi, it's a popular parrot destination. and I strongly believe the hd700 is a victim of overaggressive parroting on many sites, not just headfi. a few early adopters didn't like the highs, and suddenly the hd700 was "like having ice picks in my ears". really?
lets get down to it, the highs. that's what most people considering this headphone want to know about. are they really that bad? for me, and my ears and ACTUAL experience, nope, not at all. I'm running my 700 on a bifrost 4490 and lyr 2 (gold lion tubes). tidal hd, and the most random list of music known to man. some good quality, some not so good (metal, get your quality up!). so how are the highs? crisp, detailed, extended, slightly warm. sibilant? no, not at all, at least for my old ears. I do hear the peaks others have described in great detail. but they don't pierce my ears. they don't cause me discomfort. sorry folks, the devil and his dental drill from hell are not shredding my eardrums. no ice picks either. I must be deaf, I guess, because I actually really like the highs. they offer a level of clarity and sparkle few of my other headphones can even come close to. I will admit the peaks on low quality recordings (metallica death magnetic) can get pretty intense. but I fault the recording more than the headphones. death magnetic is a clipped, shrill mess on most of my headphones.
so there you have it, the highs are pretty good. I wont lie, I was really nervous trying them on for the first time. I had the volume down so low I could barely hear anything. I was so worried the 700 would shred my eardrums. 5 minutes later I was at pretty obscene volume levels and not wincing at all. in comparison, my msr7 would be much more fatiguing and uncomfortable sounding at lesser volumes. even my q701 sounds harsher up top than the hd700.
ok mids/lows, i'll be more concise. mids are ever so slightly recessed, or maybe just neutral. but they definitely sound farther away than my alpha prime, q701, and pm3. those three are my mid range masters. but the 700's mids are still beautiful sounding. warm, detailed, with great weight and texture. vocals are glorious, even if I do feel I'm sitting a few rows back from where I'd like to be. bass is excellent. it's tight, with fast decay, and almost planar like in it's detail. believe it or not, I was more surprised by the bass than I was the highs. I had that feeling the commotion about the highs were exaggeration. but no one talked about the bass. and the bass just blew me away with it's depth and texture. I honestly put the bass on these right up there with my all time bass favorite, my alpha prime. the prime doesn't have the deepest bass, but to my ears, it's the most detailed and textured. well the 700 isn't as good, but boy does it come close.
the soundstage is just as exquisite as you've read elsewhere. it's wide, it's deep, it's precise. if the hd800 didn't exist, it would probably be the best soundstage out there. it's that good.
at 150ohms, the 700 doesn't need a ton of power, but an amp is required. I tried plugging into my iphone 6s and got so so volume levels, and absolutely dead dynamics. it was pretty lifeless, as I expected. I tried it on my dragonfly black. more volume, more dynamics, but still not that great. bass was flubby (it's a word!). highs did pierce. soundstage was tight. those drivers wanted more power. ok, dragonfly red. whoa..... the red is actually powering this thing pretty well! had to lower the volume a lot. the whole sound experience exploded. the stage expanded, the highs smoothed out, the bass tightened up, and it actually sounded....well, good! ok, lets get these on the big rig (bifrost/lyr). WHOA..... take everything I said about the red, and it did it more. finally, the drivers had all the power they needed. the bass now had it's planar like speed and precision. highs further smoothed. extended? yes? harsh? no no no. well not until a death magnetic track came on my shuffled playlist. that made me turn down the volume, I wont lie.
bottom line, for under $500, the hd700 is a killer headphone. it's not the eardrum killer it's reputation suggests. maybe sennheiser did a mid cycle retuning? I suspect so, as all the 2012-2013 reviews were critical. then the 700 seemed to garner refreshed interest around 2015-2016, and those reviews were far more positive. my guess is a few factors are at play here. first, I'm guessing it had a retune around 2014/2015. sennheiser is notorious for retuning their headphone without any press releases or model number changes. please, sennheiser, stop that! I love the fact that you're improving your products. just tell us! second, I think the graph lovers unfairly crucified the set. there were some prominent figures in the audio world who absolutely hated the uneven frequency peaks on the 700. next thing you know, the parrots were out in full force spouting off about graph peaks. and that leads me to my last point, the parrots. if you've spent any time researching the 700 online, you'll have run across the big audio forums like headfi, changstar, sbaf, reddit, etc. and what do you find there? 99% parrots. how many times have I read people say "I've read" or "I heard", when talking about the hd700, and none of them have any firsthand experience with it. I'm not saying there is no useful information there, because there is. you just need to know who's parroting and who's actually speaking from experience.
and that leaves me with this last point, then i'll get off my soapbox. we all hear differently. add to that we all enjoy different sonic signatures. what's bass heavy to one person might be bass light to another, and so on. so I end with this, everything I've said applies to MY OPINIONS FROM FIRSTHAND USE of the hd700. for me, its great. you might like it, you might not. don't take anything here as fact. until YOU put them on and listen for yourself, you wont know the facts FOR YOU. deep breath...stepping off the soapbox......good night......
I am using this so far with a Schiit Fulla 2 DAC/Amp from my iPhone 7 Plus playing Apple Music 256kbps AAC as well as Tidal lossless 1.4mbps FLAC. I am also using this as a gaming headset/headphone with and without the Modmic 5 with the Creative Soundblaster X7 LE. My setup isn’t ideal and is on the low end for listening to music considering the $100 DAC/Amp but despite the 150ohm impedance the sensitivity of the driver makes the headphones run very well on both setups. You can hear music running the headphones on phones but to really listen to your music with these, you’ll want to add a little more power.
Going straight into the sound quality these are nothing short of amazing. The imaging or soundstage of these headphones is the best that I’ve used but keep in mind I have not tried the HD800 headphones which are supposed to be significantly better. The soundstage is sublime for listening to classical music and the clarity in the upper range makes it a much more immersive listening experience than I am used to. I think the HD650 is great for classical music and will open your mind to the amazing possibility of better listening but the HD700 is exponentially better to my ears in regards to the imaging and clarity for classical music.
Everything sounds great right? Well it definitely isn’t all great. This set of headphones has a really bad reputation for many in the audiophile community for its treble peaks. For certain songs it can be too much for people to comfortably listen to. I didn’t know what sibilance in audio meant until I used these headphones. They are just too analytical and bright and at certain frequencies the grainy abrasive sound just kills you. The analytical nature of these headphones is one of its greatest strengths and weaknesses. I didn’t have an issue with these headphones with 95% of the classical music I listened to and I don’t know enough to say whether it was just the specific songs or instruments that I listened to or something else. Also, I did not hear any issues using these on the X7 with my PS4 but with most other types of music and specifically electronic music, I just don’t like how it sounds. To add to that, these headphones are not kind to poor mastering or poor recordings in general. They are just too detailed and unforgiving and you will hear everything you want while also hearing everything you may not.
Now while that last section may have turned you completely off from these headphones I have to say that I still very much enjoy these headphones. For classical music they have been a revelation of sorts. You don’t just hear the resonance of the friction of the strings on the cello, you feel them as if you were playing them yourself. You can nearly pinpoint the location of all of the instruments and the speed of the drivers can get you to the slow quiet sounds to the quick and loud and back again in no time. In my limited headphone experience with a low end system I am still able to enjoy these headphones immensely with classical music. I also have to say that if for some reason you wanted to spend a lot of money on headphones for gaming on PC or console, these headphones turn out to be great for that as well. The bass is limited because of the open back nature of these so some may want more boom in their explosions but the audio is so clear and crisp and the bass may not punch you in the face but it is supremely well defined. If the game you are playing has good audio then the imaging will be fantastic for locating sounds and specifically footsteps. Throw a Modmic on and you may have one of the best gaming headphones available without spending significantly more, although keep in mind you will likely need an amp for console gaming like the X7 or maybe the Mixamp from Astro to get enough volume.
Moving past the sound, the comfort on these headphones is just the best I’ve ever had on any headphone ever. They are lightweight and while the clamp may not be enough to hold them snug on normal sized heads, they clamp just enough to my big head. The ear cushions are not terribly thick but the earcups are large enough to fit most ears without touching. The head cushion is very nice and plush and I feel no hotspots over my head. I also haven’t really had any heat issues around my ears like I do with a lot of other headphones. They just seem to wear cool, light, and just snug enough for my head. Another nice thing is that while some headphones just look ridiculous wrapping over my big head, the design on these wraps perfectly around my head with not a lot of extra headphone sticking out. I can comfortably lay in bed with these without hitting everything. I think while somewhat futuristic looking they are very stylish in their heavily HD800 influenced design.
The build quality on these is great. While they are mostly plastic, Sennheiser seems to use quality plastics that hold up well over time. My HD558 headphones are years old now and yet besides for a little adhesive issues on my head cushion which is by the way replaceable, it looks brand new. That leads me into another thing I really like not only about these headphones but a lot of Sennheiser headphones in general, nearly everything is replaceable through Sennheiser. I’ve had other brands of headphones that have bad pleather peeling, or rubber getting tacky, or just cushions going flat. Then when you want to fix them up you’re left with aftermarket parts if even that which means your headphones have become mostly trash unless you fabricate something yourself. I don’t know if everything on these headphones is replaceable like the HD558 or even the HD650 but I know the ear pads are replaceable for a price(~$50 last I checked from 3rd part sellers of actual Sennheiser parts).
These headphones aren’t going to be for everyone and especially paying full price brand new. In fact, I don’t think I could necessarily recommend them at full price unless you just have money you like to throw at things. They still retail at over $700 on the Sennheiser website and go for about $450 new on Amazon. I did not pay anywhere close to those prices and I honestly couldn’t recommend them at either price point. The only higher end headphone I have to compare them to is the HD650 which you can buy used for as low as under $200. You can buy them new on Amazon for between $300-$400 or even buy the nearly exact same headphone in the HD6XX from Massdrop for $200 new if you don’t mind waiting for the next drop and ship times. If I could only have one I’d take the HD650 every single time without hesitation. The HD700 are still better for my tastes on classical music and even gaming but the HD650 are just more enjoyable as a whole. They may not do everything as well as the HD700 but they do everything well. If you can find the HD700 for low $300 or lower used and you only want to use them for classical music or maybe gaming for some reason then yeah they will be great, in fact beyond great. However, if you just want a good versatile high end headphone to use for everything, get the HD650 or HD600 for a lot less.
(There are mods available online through quick research that is supposed to improve the treble spike that I mentioned that could make these unbelievably great headphones if they worked , this review is only of the stock headphones)